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New York Mets Should Attempt Pursuing Jose Bautista for 2014

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COMMENTARY | Now that the offseason is upon us for most major league teams, it's time to start speculating about 2014.

Sandy Alderson and the New York Mets need to find a power-hitting outfielder. Giancarlo Stanton or Carlos Gonzalez are likely on their wish list, but Toronto Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista should also be on there.

At the age of 29, Bautista finally had the breakout season he was waiting for in 2010. The right fielder hit .260/.378/.617 with a league-leading 54 home runs, and 124 RBIs. He was selected to his first All-Star game, won his first Silver Slugger Award, and placed fourth in AL MVP voting.

Prior to 2010, Bautista never hit more than 16 home runs or drove in more than 63 runs in a season. Some thought it was an aberration, but he followed it up with an equally impressive 2011. He hit .302/.447/.608 with 43 home runs and 103 RBIs. He went to his second straight All-Star game, won his second consecutive Silver Slugger, and placed third in AL MVP voting.

The last two seasons have been shortened due to various injuries, yet Bautista still hit more than 25 home runs in each year. He also extended his All-Star game appearance streak to four consecutive years.

Despite not playing in more than 118 games in either the 2012 or 2013 season, he still out-produced the current outfielders on the Mets' roster in the power department.

Given the lack of true power hitting outfielders in the free-agent market, and Scott Boras in search of a nine figure contract for Shin-Soo Choo, Sandy Alderson should lean toward making a significant trade. As I mentioned before, Stanton or Gonzalez would be great to put in a corner outfield spot, but the asking price for each may be too steep. However, it could be just right for Toronto.

The Blue Jays have gotten plenty of calls about Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion. They won't be entertaining a trade unless those calling are willing to surrender MLB-ready talent. Fortunately, for New York, it has a surplus of minor league starting pitching, some of which could be considered ready for the majors. With the injuries and ineffectiveness the Blue Jays dealt with in 2013, the Mets may have what they're looking for.

As we saw last December, Sandy Alderson was able to strike quite a deal with Toronto, landing Travis d'Arnaud and Noah Syndergaard in exchange for R.A. Dickey. While it's doubtful the Jays would be able to get Syndergaard back a year after dealing him away, hurlers like Jacob deGrom and Rafael Montero could act as good centerpieces in potential negotiations.

It would make sense for Toronto to move one of its big-money players this winter; after taking on a lot of payroll last winter and missing the playoffs in 2013, there isn't a lot of financial flexibility for next season. After signing a five-year deal, Bautista has two guaranteed years remaining and $28 million owed to him through the 2015 season. He also has a $14 million team option for 2016.

Acquiring a player like this could completely transform Terry Collins' everyday lineup. With approximately $70 million coming off the books now that this season is finished, the Mets have more than enough money to handle Bautista's $14 million salary. Plus, that salary for the amount of power production Joey Bats can provide is an incredible bargain.

Bautista would be the legitimate lineup protection the Mets have been searching to give David Wright, and it would only be a short-term commitment for New York. At the very least, the Mets would have him only for his age-33 and 34 seasons, and would hold the option for a third year if things went well.

The Mets and Blue Jays could line up to be good trade partners for a second straight winter. We'll see how it plays out; it may be unlikely now, but it also seemed unlikely last December that Alderson would get d'Arnaud and Syndergaard for Dickey before it actually happened.

I'm ready for a significant transaction to improve this roster, and acquiring Jose Bautista would instantly make the Mets' lineup more intimidating.

Matt Musico's Mets opinion has been featured on MLB Trade Rumors, MetsBlog, Amazin' Avenue, Mets Merized Online, and Rising Apple. He currently serves as the Executive Editor of MetsMinors.net. You can follow him on Twitter: @mmusico8.

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